This weekend I participated in an exciting collaborative dinner party with some of my fellow food bloggers. Simply put, it was a magical evening. You can read all about it here. We also made a two minute video about it:
I was given the assignment to create an entrée inspired from Greg’s Blog. Sipitty Sup is full of savory treats, but my real inspiration for the entrée of this meal came from one of Greg’s own blog inspirations: his Mother.
Greg writes about what an amazing cook his own mother was and how that was such an influence in developing his interest in food. Since her passing, Greg’s brother took the time to collect some of her recipes, and Greg was kind enough to share some of them on his blog.
My own Mother wasn’t a great cook, but I felt inspired to honor my deceased mother in a similar way to Greg… by cooking a dish inspired from her. The one food that she made that I enjoyed most was pot roast, which consisted of three ingredients: powdered onion mushroom soup mix, water and beef.
Naturally, I wanted to make something a little more gourmet and robust, so I braised the beef in porter with lots of real onion and mushrooms. Clearly not my Mama’s pot roast, but I think she would have enjoyed it just as much as we all did.
I served the meltingly tender beef with roasted root vegetables in a gravy made from the braising liquid. My mother also was big on mashed potatoes, so I decided to make a fun sort of potato mash. Cauliflower helps lighten up the mash keeping it from being too starchy, while crème fraîche makes it rich and flavorful. Chestnut honey (as first seen at my Honey Tasting Dinner) is blue cheese’s secret lover. Hiding in a the potato and cauliflower, they add an exciting world of flavor.http://www.windattack.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/plating.jpg
And to brighten a plate full of earthy flavors, something that rises up from the earth: pea tendrils. That’s right, the stalks of the snap pea plant. The greens were lightly cooked with garlic, lemon and dry white wine. The delicate raw spiral tendrils and the pea blossoms made a whimsically elegant garnish for the plate as a whole.http://www.windattack.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/plated.jpg
Porter-Braised Pot Roast with Blue Cheese Mash and Pea TendrilsServes 6-10
- About 4 lb Chuck Roast
- Salt and Pepper
- Canola Oil
- 2 red onions, medium chop
- 8 oz Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Pint Porter
- 1 small bunch fresh Thyme Sprigs
- 1 tbs porcini mushroom powder, optional
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Turnip, 1/2″ cubed
- 1 Parsnip, 1/2″ cubed
- 4 Small Carrots, 1/2″ chop
- 8 oz Crimini Mushrooms, quartered
- 6 sprigs of Thyme
- 4 Cloves Garlic, crushed
- 1/2 Red Onion, thinly shaved
- 2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 tbs Arrowroot Powder
- 1/2 cup Red Wine
- 1 tbs Avocado Honey or Molasses
- 1 tbs Tomato (or red wine) Vinegar
- 4 medium Russet Potatoes, 1″ cubed
- 1/2 head Cauliflower, cut into big pieces
- 1/2 cup Crème Fraiche
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 6 oz Blue Cheese, crumbled
- 2 tsp Chestnut Honey, optional
- Fresh Cracked Pepper
- 8 cups chopped Pea Tendrils
- 3 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Salt-Packed Capers, lightly rinsed, minced
- 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
- 1/4 cup White Wine
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Liberally season the roast with salt and pepper on all sides. When pan is very hot, add a small amount of canola oil. It will start smoking. Add the roast to the pan. Sear all sides for 30 seconds each, turning using tongs. Transfer the roast to an enameled cast iron dutch oven and cover.
- Add the onions to the cast iron pan and cook stirring frequently until lightly browned. Add half the the porter to the pan and scrape any brown bits off the pan. Pour all the contents of the pan over the roast in the dutch oven. Add the remaining porter, the mushrooms and the thyme. Bring the dutch oven to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
- Cook covered at a low simmer flipping the meat every half hour or whenever you think of it. After about three hours, add the crushed garlic cloves on top of the meat. Continue cooking for another 2–3 hours until the meat is very tender.
- Toss the root vegetables and mushrooms with the thyme, garlic, onion and olive oil. Let sit for at least a half hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the veggies on a sheet pan and discard the onion and garlic. Bake until golden brown, about a half hour.
- Boil the potatoes and cauliflower until very tender. Drain, then press through a ricer or food mill (or mash with a potato masher). Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring frequently. Add the butter, crème fraîche and blue cheese, mixing well until melted in. Add the honey and pepper to taste.
- Strain one cup of the braising liquid into a small saucepan. Dissolve the arrowroot into cold water, then whisk into the braising liquid. Add the wine, honey and vinegar. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half. Add the roasted vegetables and toss to coat.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, capers and onions. Cook until onions start to soften, then add the pea tendrils. Toss to coat evenly with the garlic oil. When the greens start to wilt, add the lemon juice and wine. Turn up the heat and cook quickly until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.
- Ladle the vegetables and gravy onto a plate. Top with a piece of beef. Ladle a little more gravy atop. Plate the blue cheese mash and pea tendrils. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh minced herbs, fresh cracked pepper and the pea tendrils blossoms.